Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/09/2011 04:21:14 PM PST

San Bernardino International Airport has a new interim executive director.

The airport board on Wednesday appointed A.J. Wilson – a former Pomona city manager and veteran of local government – to the position.

Prior to his stint in Pomona during the late 1980s, he’d served 20 years in government, including reportedly successful tenures overseeing Santa Ana and his hometown of St. Louis.

He also was part of early redevelopment efforts when the former Norton Air Force Base closed in 1994.

“All that just means I’m very old and (have) been around a long time I guess,” Wilson said. “But I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with you.”

Wilson serves as a senior advisor to city managers in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, as well as a portion of Los Angeles County, on behalf of the International City/County Managers Association.

He is expected to earn what would amount to $312,000 a year based on a $150 hourly rate.

During the search process, the airport officials agreed that the new interim executive director would not be expected to remain on more than one year.

Former interim executive Director Donald L. Rogers, who resigned Sept. 28 on the heels of an FBI raid at he airport, earned between $12,000 and $15,000 a month.

Sam Racadio, a Highland councilman and member of the San Bernardino International Airport Authority board, said he has known Wilson for 20 years, and said Wilson is respected throughout the state and nation.

“I think we’re fortunate to have A.J. here,” Racadio said during the meeting in Loma Linda.

Wilson reportedly had a reputation as a strong leader who had good ideas about how to solve urban problems.

But that past has been somewhat checkered.

In 1984, his city manager tenure in Kansas City, Mo., wound up in controversy when he reportedly resigned after 14 months.

And a little more than a year after he came to Pomona in 1988, the City Council fired him, citing issues surrounding his leadership style.

Still, Wilson emerged from a pool of 16 candidates that stepped forward after Rogers resigned and the airport launched its search.

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